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Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey
Critiquing an auction, in many ways, is rather easy as the pedigree of vehicles, the number of sales, and the total sold above the estimates are clear indicators of the work of the auction house. During the auction, the bidders thrive on vehicles sold at a bargain, while sellers experience the same euphoria when the sale is in their favor. Often, the vehicles that are sold are more meaningful and sentimental than the designated criticism of the selling price. The final pound of the gavel signals the end of one ownership and the start of another chapter in its existence.
Following on their success at many of their annual auctions held throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, RM Auctions added another stop on their list; a location ripe with automotive enthusiasm but uniquely different from many of their other events. A large number of the cars were from the pre-World War I era, and most were in disrepair showing signs of a rough existence that has been beaten by time, weather, and the elements. One right after another, the cars were brought onto the stage in hopes of finding a kind soul who could make a bid worthy of the estimated value. Tires were shredded, and rust, dings, and dents occupied more surface area than the original paint. Boards were rotten, leather was hardened and cracked, and tires, at times, were even non-existent. Parts were missing or inoperable. In nearly every respect, the cars were a disaster and a tetanus shot waiting to happen.
As the cars were given their turn on stage, something singularly unexpected happened. Bidding quickly rose well above the estimated value, in many cases selling for three or four times the value it had been hoped, making all preconceptions a gross understatement. It was as though the worse the condition of the car, the higher the selling price. The cars with the concours quality restorations in perfect running order often did not fare as well and failed to conjure the same interest. Nevertheless, there was a mind boggling 97% of the consigned motor cars sold, totaling 12.3 million in sales. Only three of the 116 items offered for sale were unsold, the first 'non sale' was the 86th item to cross the block. About 80% were offered without reserve and 44 items were sold above the estimated value. The average sale of the day was about $108,800 US dollars. Needless to say, critiquing this auction is rather easy.
Kruse International at Hershey, PA
Kruse Breaks Records in Hershey
Kruse International broke records in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 2007 with some highly heated bidding wars at the 7th Annual Hershey Auction held at the Giant Center sponsored by the AACA National Museum for 7 consecutive years.
From Chevy Corvettes to the Simca One Concept Car to the 1932 Duesenberg, hands were up bidding on every car that crossed the block. There was something for everyone at this year's Hershey auction. Whether you were there just to view some beautiful cars, or add more to your collection, Kruse had something to thrill everyone in the audience. Kruse sold 72% with a sales total of $6 million.
Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance
The Sixth Annual Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival was held in early November and featured a very broad array of automotive related events that catered to a very wide audience. Festivities began with a two-day racing event at Roebling Road, in addition to a new-for-2007 Golf Tournament, fashion show, Worldwide Group auction, automobile tours, car club jamboree, and the Concours d'Elegance as the event's conclusion.
On concours day, there were over ten classes for the 155 judged vehicles, a motorcycle display, racing cars and 'Quest for Speed' machines, and emergency vehicles including police cars, fire engines, and ambulances. The concours has made extra efforts to educate even the youngest of visitors, by showcasing museum displays with personnel on hand to explain the historical significance of the vehicles. Universities, colleges, and high schools with automotive programs were invited and encouraged to bring students to describe their project vehicles, which were on display. The feature university this year was the Engineering Department of The Ohio State University which brought their record-setting Bonneville Lake Speedster, powered by a fuel cell.
As is the case with all major events, the venue is very important, and the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn provides an excellent setting to showcase the antique cars. Plus, it is hard to argue with the Hilton Head Island location in November, which has very comfortable weather that demands outdoor activity.
The Hilton Head Sports & Classic Car Auction
Nestled in the heart of sunny South Carolina and just miles from the Atlantic Ocean was the Sports and Classic Car Auction presented by The Worldwide Group. Over 100 vehicles were listed for sale and as the gavel struck for the final time of the day, around 90% had been sold. A large number of the vehicles, around 40 of them, were from a single collection, being auctioned from the estate of the late Walter B. Satterthwaite. Mr. Satterhwaite was a passionate collector who had acquired an impressive stable. The auctioning of Mr. Satterhwaite's collection was a fitting memorial to a great admirer of the automobile and an opportunity by many to enjoy his collection once again.
With over 100 vehicles for sale, the group was well diverse, containing cars from many eras of automobile production. A large amount were from the 1950s and 1960s, which were a glorious period for styling and horsepower advancements. In the horsepower sports-car department, there were around 15 Corvettes, Mustangs, and Thunderbirds combined. Stumbling upon a Peerless automobile is a rare occasion; the Worldwide Group Auction had three. From across the pond their were the Austin-Healeys, MG's, Jaguars, Lotus, and Triumph's, to name a few. Porsche, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz made up the German contingent with the 356A 1600 Speedster being the highlight from this group. In the modified category there was a custom Ford Model A Boattail Roadster 'EJ Walton Special' made from aluminum with extensive modifications throughout. There was a Shelby Cobra 429 Tribute equipped with a Ford V8 engine and many convenience features such as an automatic gearbox and factory air conditioning. In the 'all-terrain' category there were three Jeeps and one Willy's Jeepster.
A very broad selection of vehicles that nearly guaranteed to satisfy the need, no matter what it might have been.
During the Monterey Weekend there are numerous events to attend with many centering around the word, 'exclusive.' The Concorso Italiano could fall under this category, in that it is an event for vehicles that were created from the boot-shaped country of Italy. That is where the exclusivity stops and the warm-welcome's begin. Any Italian built car that is able to make it the Monterey Peninsula and to the Blackhorse Golf Course in Seaside, California is able to be shown. The two marque's in strong attendance were Ferrari and Lamborghini, with many others such as Fiat, DeTomaso, ISO, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Bizzarrini, and Maserati also having significant numbers.
With a show of this magnitude, there were many celebrated models and features. The Countach was recognized for its 35th anniversary. Many examples were on display that spanned the years of production, allowing onlookers to examine the differences that were introduced each year. The most significant Countach on the well-manicured golf course lawn was the first example ever created. Lamborghini's test driver, Valentino Balboni, was present to share stories and experiences about the stages of development for the Countach.
Probably the most interesting Lamborghini in attendance, and arguably one of the highlights of the show, was the Miura Roadster, also known as 'ZN-75'. This car began life as a prototype and given the unique feature of a removable top. The car was later purchased by ILZRO (International Lead and Zinc Research Corporation) and reconstructed using their own metals and technology. The vehicle was disassembled with many of the parts receiving zinc plating, chrome plating, polished or re-manufactured using metals made by ILZRO. At the completion of the project, the car's name was changed to 'Zn-75' signifying the periodic table of metals used during the reconstruction. It is a breath-taking car that is exotic as it is intriguing.
AACA Auto Museum
The AACA Museum's mission is 'dedicated to the Celebration, Preservation, Education, and Display of the American Motor Vehicle history that provides value for our members, hobbyists, and the public.' The museum compliments the Research Center and Library and is a nonprofit educations institution professionally staffed consisting of semi-permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Antique Auto Museum is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania and has over 71,000 square feet of display space. It has been educating the public since June 26th of 2003.
During the summer season the museum presented a special display, 'America at Speed: Vintage Competition Vehicles 1895 to 1980.' It featured nearly two dozen vintage race cars that dominated a full century of this nation's fascination. It was a very disperse group of vehicles, ranging from dirt track racers, to hill climbing champions, to NASCAR and Indy competition, and speed record holders. The displays were arranged appropriately to showcase the differences, changes, and advancements from the earliest and latest cars. Many of the earlier cars were racing specials and garage-built competitors while the newer examples were the opposite extreme, completely fabricated race cars that were built to strict guidelines and specifications. Whether they raced for the checkered flag on a dirt track or the glorious stage of the brickyard in Indianapolis, the vehicles on display told the histories of proving and promoting their potential.
The Pontiac Boat Tail racer on display has a racing history that spanned six years and is the oldest documented Pontiac race car in existence. It was a dealer-sponsored racer throughout its racing career, and scored an outright victory in its first racing attempt. The Cadillac LeMans Coupe has been restored to resemble the 'stock' car entered by the Cunningham team which competed in the 1950 24 Hours of LeMans. The stock Series 61 Cadillac driven by Sam and Miles Collier finished in an impressive 10th place. This was the first time since the 1920s an American production vehicle had raced at LeMans and the Cadillac had beaten 'proven' race cars from manufacturers such as Jaguar, Bentley, Talbot Lago, Panhard, Ferrari and Delage. The Watson Indy Roadster set a track record during qualifying and was driven to an Indy 500 victory in one of the most spectacular battles for the lead in '500' history. The Oldsmobile Cutlass Skoal Bandit is an actual NASCAR purpose-built racer from the 1991 season. It is a fitting reminder of now-defunct Oldsmobile's last days in NASCAR competition. Sitting in close proximity was a NASCAR entry from the mid-1960s, a Mercury Cougar. The differences between these two were very drastic, as the Mercury was nearly 'stock.' It was originally driven by Dan Gurney and finished the season in second place with 62 points closely behind the first place finisher, Ford, who had accumulated 64 points.
Eastern Division AACA National Fall Meet Car Corral
The Eastern Division AACA National Fall Meet takes place each year during the 1st full week in October. The Hershey Region began hosting the show in 1955 and has done so each year since then.
The meet is located in beautiful Hershey, PA on the Hershey park and Giant Center parking lots and surrounding grounds. The show is considered one of the largest antique automobile shows and flea markets in the United States.
It consists of over 9,000 flea market spaces, over 1,000 car corral spaces, and approximately 1,500 show cars. Each year the show attracts visitors from all over the United States and many countries throughout the world. Some of the most unusual cars and parts can be found at Hershey.
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
Beginning in 1950, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was an added event to the Pebble Beach Road Race which quickly grew into a popular social event, culminating into the ultimate auto show. It is an event staged on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links matching natural beauty with classic elegance and style.
Golf Digest Magazine
ranked the Pebble Beach Resorts the number 1 golf resort in American in 2007. For 85 years the Pebble Beach Golf Links has seen more players of more levels of skill than nearly any other course on the planet. It is a course that is surrounded by gorgeous scenery consisting of breathtaking ocean-side and pristine forest. It is considered by many to be the world's most challenging course and a suitable location to play host to the annual concours event.
Ten years ago a driving event was introduced, known as the Tour d'Elegance, allowing both drivers and spectators to enjoy the vehicles on the scenic 17-Mile Drive and surrounding area. The concours had gained a reputation for catering to museum pieces and 'trailer queens', but that notion has subsided as many of the concours' participants traversed the course as thousands of spectators watch the elegance in motion. The history in the driving tour goes much deeper than just a way to prove the endurance of the automobiles; before the golf links were laid out, the area was renowned for its scenic drive. The tour traces through portions of the original 17-Mile Drive and honors the road races that were staged through the Del Monte Forest during the 1950s. The racing, the initial reason for the auto enthusiast gathering before it was superseded by the concours, was later moved to the Laguna Seca Raceway, in part, for safety reasons.
Sir Stirling Moss in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster led the 100 cars through the course. Following him were numerous Dusenebergs, Packards, racing bred Ferrari's, brass era cars, and even the oldest surviving racing Aston Martin in existence. Unfortunately, part of the course was covered in a dense fog that hid most of the California sun and robed the entrants of the surrounding scenery for much of route 1. It was not enough to keep the participants and spectators from thoroughly enjoying the event.
Blackhawk Collection at Hershey
The AACA, Antique Automobile Club of America, was organized for the purpose of sharing and preserving the common interest of antique automobiles, hold meetings and to participate in club activities. The annual 'Meet' in the Hershey Region began in the early 1950s and has prospered greatly during that time. There are approximately seventy-five different committees and over 750 volunteers making this a very educational, entertaining, and resourceful few days.
The Eastern Division AACA National Fall Meet is held in the Hershey, PA region on the Hershey Park, Giant Center, and surrounding grounds during the first full week in October. The show is considered one of the largest antique automobile shows and flea markets in the United States. There are over 9,000 flea market spaces, over 1,000 car corral spaces, and approximately 1,500 show cars.
Adding to the excitement is the AACA Museum, bus tours, and auctions catering to a wide variety of clientele. Located just a short distance away from the main excitement were the RM Auctions and the Blackhawk Collection. Both did a fantastic job of bringing some of the finest and most impressive vehicles of the weekend. One of the highlights of the RM Auction was the unrestored 1911 Oldsmobile Limited Touring which is the only unrestored and original example in existence. It is massive, with a 707 cubic-inch engine carefully concealed under the long bonnet. It exceeded sales expectations, selling for $1.6 million, including buyer's premium. Just down the hallway was the Blackhawk Collection consisting of some of the finest vehicles in the world. All were in excellent condition, fully restored or well treated since new, with many been judged Best in Show or class at the more competitive concours events.
Christie's Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center
This years Christie's annual sale of International Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center featured sixty cars from celebrated marques, classis automobiles, and even a few that had ties to celebrity ownerships. Total expected sales was around 7.5 million, with the actual sale tally reaching $8,197,057. It was a sale of 'Exceptional Motor Cars' with many of the cars that crossed the auction block filling those high expectations. Not every car was exceptional though, and added a unique flavor throughout the auction, as some of the cars had been restored to very high standards, while others were in need of repair, and even a handful being in very poor shape. What the auctioneers hoped was that bidders would see past the rust, dust, dents, and torn upholstery to the potential the vehicle possessed. The lowest automotive sale of the day was a 1953 Buick Skylark that appeared to be pulled straight out of a long hibernation in a barn somewhere. It was estimated to sell between $10,000 - $20,000. Bidding surpassed those figures, settling at $20,900 including buyer's premium. What had inspired bidding was the car that rolled onto the stage just prior to this car. It too was a 1953 Buick Roadmaster, but it was in great condition and carried an estimated value of $120,000 - $170,000.
The car that carried the most anticipation and excitement was the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso once owned, driven and raced by the legendary Steve McQueen. It was estimated to fetch between $800,000 - $1,200,000. Only 350 examples of the 250 GT Lusso were ever constructed with only a handful finished in the rare color of Maroon metallic with a light beige interior. These were luxurious sports cars built on a short wheelbase and powered by a potent Colombo V12 engine capable of producing up to 250 horsepower. The final sale price for this brilliant automobile far exceeded expectations, selling for $2.31 million.
Another high sale of the day was the Duesenberg Model J with coachwork by LeBaron, estimated to sell for as high as $850,000. Bidding surpassed that estimate, settling at $902,000 including buyer's premium. It is in excellent condition, one of the few Convertible Berline's created, and a rare LeBaron bodied Duesenberg. The Napier Type 23A, excepted to sell as high as $500,000, sold for $682,000. It was among the more rare vehicles at the auction, and created from a marque that had a short, yet distinguished, lifespan. It resided in the car of Rod Blood, the President of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America from 1942 through 1944. Included in the category of 'rare' was the 1924 Lancia Lambda. It was in unrestored condition, estimated to sell for just under $100,000, and was part of the same stable since the 1940s. The Lambda's were produced from 1922 through 1931 and incorporated many designs and construction methods that were ahead of their time. The design of the vehicles were inspired by the load-bearing principles of the hull of a ship. The vehicles strength came from the driveshaft tunnel which formed the backbone of the car, meaning a heavy frame was not needed. Within a few years, Lancia was making the claim to have 'The Best Medium Powered Car in the World.' They backed up this claim by entering in the grueling Mille Miglia race, where their efforts were rewarded with top ten finishes. At auction, the Lambda found a buyer willing to part with $104,500, including buyer's premium, to own the vehicle.
Gooding & Company
Gooding & Company held a two-night auction event during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Highlights of this year's auctions include the oldest running car in the world, an original 1931 Blower Bentley from the E. Ann Klein Estate, one-of-a-kind Ferraris and the incomparable Rolls-Royce collection of Richard J. Solove.
As part of this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Gooding & Company's auction consisted of over 130 vehicles, two days of auction preview, and two days of live auctions. The first night of auctions included several cars from the late private collector and well-known television producer Greg Garrison. Seven of the nine cars were one-of-a-kind Ferraris. Highlights included the 410 Superamerica Scaglietti Coupe, he 250 PF One-Off Coupe and the very last Daytona Spyder built.
Highlights from the second night of auctions include the 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trépardoux steamer. It is recognized as the 'oldest running car in the world,' and boasting a top speed of 38 miles per hour. The De Dion Bouton's twin tandem compound steam engines use coal and water for fuel. On April 28, 1887 it won the world's first auto race, from Paris to Neuilly and back, covering a distance of 19 miles while averaging 26 miles per hour.
Other highlights from the second night include the Richard J. Solove Rolls-Royce Collection. It was the largest single automotive donation in history. Mr. Solove contributed his proceeds from the collection's sale, with catalog estimates ranging between $8 - $10 million, to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University. This prestigious care center is one of only ten freestanding cancer hospitals in the United States. It is part of Ohio State's National Cancer Institute- designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca
Some of the greatest automotive racing cars in history make the annual journey to Laguna Seca in August for several intense days of racing. The cars that circle the scenic course are worthy of display in museums; in fact, many of the cars are the center piece of exhibits when they are not turning laps at one of the more challenging course in the United States. The Monterey Historic Races evolved from road racing in the Del Monte Forest north of Monterey, California during the early 1950s. In 1956, due to complaints and growing safety concerns, racing through the Forest was banned. So the activities were moved to the Laguna Seca Raceway located just miles away. This year, the track celebrated its 50th year of operation with the Monterey Historics being apart of the track for the past 34 years.
The Historics are held during the same weekend as the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, along with the many other automotive related activities and events that occur during this time. The Historics is now a four-day event, with the first day of activities including practice runs and qualifying for the Ferrari / Maserati Historic Challenge. The final three days are for the fourteen racing groups. There is much to see and do during this time, with hundreds of legendary racing machines going all-out at Laguna Seca.
This years' event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Laguna Seca, Brooklands at 100, and the Indy 500. The first purpose-built motor-racing circuit was opened on June 17th, 1907 in Weybridge, Surrey. The track had several intended purposes; it was to be a dedicated racing circuit and club where drivers could reach speeds of 120 mph. The 2.75-mile course was later lengthened to a distance of 3.25 miles and featured large banking sections that reached nearly 30 feet high. During its operation from 1907 through 1939, the Brooklands Speedway would become home to many world speed records. The Monterey Historic Races recognized the Brooklands' track histories and the accomplishments by having several prominent Brookland historic racecars on display throughout the weekend. Included in this group were several Brookland Bentleys, the 21.5 liter Blitzen-Benz, a supercharged 7.1-liter Mercedes 710 SS, and the legendary 24-liter Napier-Railton Special.
Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance
The Art That Moves Us: A Celebration of the Power and Beauty of the Automobile
This was the 29th year of the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance honoring some of the greatest automobiles ever created. The theme was 'The Art That Moves Us', a celebration of the beauty and power of the automobile. The concours was staged on the lawn of the Meadow Brook Hall, considered by many to be one of America's castles and is the fourth largest residence in the country. The mansion has 100-rooms, 88,000 square feet of space, and impressive architectural details throughout. It provided a picturesque setting that aides in the appreciation of the automobile as a work of art and an evolution of mechanical prowess and cultural advancements.
Alfa Romeo was the featured marque and given three of their own classes. In conjunction with the concours, the Alfa Romeo Owners Club (AROC) staged their national meet on the day prior to the concours, meaning their was no shortage of Alfa Romeo automobiles or enthusiasts. The AROC meet and the Meadow Brook Concours encompassed many historically important, rare, and impressive machines created by the Alfa Romeo marque. The concours also honored the work of coachbuilders Saoutchick and Murphy, the Class of '57, and mid-engined cars.
Mother nature did all she could to help complicate things this year. Some of the cars that rolled off their enclosed trailers were recipients of a recent restoration, and their owners had to do the unbearable act of driving through gravel, mud, and rain. The thought of dirtying up the undercarriages made for a long day in the minds of some owners. It is probably the only time some of these vehicles will ever have rain on them. It adds a certain degree of 'art' to the vehicle, the way the rain drops roll off the body of the vehicle helps appreciate the vehicles line in a more visual way. Plus it puts the vehicle on another pedestal, one that is slightly lower, as these multi-million dollar vehicles get soaked. It does seem to rob the vehicles of some of its prestige and majesty, though it gave the visitors an opportunity to share in something that may never again happen to some of these vehicles. The rain hung around for only a short time and eventually gave up.
Bonhams, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
Bonhams 1793 (named for its founding date) is a leading auction house that works in diverse categories including art, antiques, photography, coils, musical instruments, and about 70 other classifications. They are one of the worlds oldest and the third largest and fastest-growing auction house in the world. Their US subsidiary, Bonhams & Butterfields, holds over 50 auctions per year with sales rooms in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Each year for the last decade automotive connoisseurs from around the globe have traveled to the annual Bonhams & Butterfields automotive auction held in Monterey, California during the Monterey Peninsula Car Week, better known as Pebble Beach Week.
Many of the cars that cross the auction block have a well-known racing heritage, a historic pedigree, an unequalled rarity, or an unrivaled ambiance and presence. The 2006 sale at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club,
An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
, featured a plethora of vehicle's with celebrity ties. The 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 Roadster was formerly in the care of Bill Harrah, the casino impresario and renowned car enthusiast. The Cadillac V16 Imperial Limousine was once owned by President Herbert Hoover. Lena Horne, a famous jazz musician and actress, once owned the very rare Jaguar MKV Drophead Coupe. Less than 400 examples of the Drophead Coupe were ever created. The Pierce-Arrow Model 845 Club Sedan made an appearance in the movie,
, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. On auction day it sold for $46,000 and within the estimated value. The Chevy Lumina Winston Cup NASCAR racer from the movie
Days of Thunder
, starring Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall crossed the block but failed to find an interested bidder willing to satisfy the reserve. Surprisingly, the 1984 Pontiac Firebird, better known as 'KITT' from the Knight Rider TV series, also left the auction unsold. The car was formerly owned by Hollywood car customizer George Barris and is the only
Super Pursuit Mode
car left in existence. Other shocking 'no sales' included some of the most anticipated cars of the auction, including the Murphy bodied Duesenberg, the BRM P160 racer, a Delahaye 135M, an Allard K2, and a DB4 Aston Martin.
Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance
Beauty Takes Shape
The 100 Motor Cars of Radnor Hunt is a tranquil gathering of some of the world's most elegant automobiles ever created. The first event was held in 1997, and since that time has honored certain select marques such as Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Bugatti, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz. This year's event paid tribute to the great American marque, Pierce-Arrow, race cars of the Mille Miglia and classic pre-war coupes. Automobiles are individually selected and each car represents an educational and aesthetic experience for guests. There is a balance between historic, classic, sports and performance racing cars. By limiting the number of vehicles on display to 100, the committee has been able to maintain very high standards and allow the best possible display of each car. A collection of Velocette motorcycles and Italian race bikes were also featured this year.
The list of activities and events in conjunction with the concours were a barbeque, road rally, art show and reception, and a black tie gala. The road rally traverses the historic and pastoral back roads of Chester Country, one of Pennsylvania's three original counties, formed in 1682. The rally focuses on enjoying the surrounding horse county with vehicles participating in the concours event encouraged to participate.
PVGP Car Show
Bringing a vintage car to the event showed support for the Vintage Grand Prix and the charities they support. It also allowed the owner a prime parking spot that was in close proximity to the racing activities.
If visiting as a spectator, there is a good amount of walking involved throughout the steep and hilly Schenley Park. For many, the car show is a social event as owners stay close to their vehicles, seeking out those interested in talking about their pride-and-joy. Since this is also the main gathering for many car clubs, it is a great opportunity for old friends to 'catch-up.' Though this is not a 'judged event' many car clubs often judge the vehicles within their groups. Awards vary, such as 'most unique', 'furthest traveled', 'best rims' and more. It is an extra incentive that seems to inspire many members to attend.
Muscle cars, vintage cars, super cars, antique/brass era cars, luxury cars, micro cars, racing cars, military vehicles, sports cars, gran turismo's, and more were all at the event. This one-day car show event heightens the appeal for the main attraction - the Vintage Grand Prix. It is one of the largest gatherings of car clubs, car lovers, admirers, and enthusiasts in the country. Plus it is free with all donations going to charities.
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
Twenty-five years ago, in 1983, the city of Pittsburgh staged a one-day automobile race through city streets. Fast-forward two-and-a-half decades later and the event has evolved into a 10-day celebration packed with parades, car shows, a Rallye, Black-tie Gala's, and two race weekends. Over 1,000 dedicated volunteers make this event happen every year, with over a quarter-million spectators coming to enjoy one of the nation's largest vintage race events and the only one staged on city streets. Over 170 racers partook in this year's event and battled it out on the 22-turn serpentine Schenley Park route. The inaugural event had 75 entrants with 14 coming from Canada; much has changed in 25 years.
This year's Marque of the Year was Mercedes-Benz with the 50th anniversary of the 1957 300 SL Roadster coinciding with the event. Mercedes-Benz has been honored on several occasions at the Grand Prix, the first time of which was in the late 1980s. Parade laps featuring Mercedes-Benz automobiles along with many other activities throughout the week helped in honoring a marque that has a long and proud history both in racing and in automobile production.
In celebration of its 25th year, the organizers of the event chose to honor and celebrate the Volunteers, making this 'The Year of the Volunteer.' It took only a short time for this event to become the nation's largest volunteer managed and operated event of its kind, an honor it has retained to modern times. One of the spotlights was the honoring of Mike Connolly, the President & Race Director of the Grand Prix. Since the inception of the race, Mike has been a pillar and backbone for the event, devoting over 400 hours a year to its success. Much to his surprise, he was named Grand Marshall and was driven around the course during the opening ceremonies for all to see. During the opening ceremonies, the cars that raced in the 1983 race did a parade lap, along with corner workers, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and racing legend Bobby Rahal. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl donated and dedicated a permanent plaque to honor the event and the 1,200 volunteers who make this possible.
Alfa Romeo Owners Club National Convention
Alfa Romeo was the featured marque at this year's Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance. In conjunction with the concours, the Alfa Romeo Owners Club (AROC) staged their national meet on the day prior to the concours. The featured models for this year's event included the 1966-1969 Duetto, 1750 Long-Tail Spider, and celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Graduate. In addition, there were special displays of the 1900, Montreal, and Sprint Speciale. The following day, at the Meadow Brook Concours, there were three special categories for Alfa's including the 8C 2300/2600/2900, the 1900 cars, and 'Significant Alfas.'
The AROC meet encompassed many historically important, rare, and impressive machines created by the Alfa Romeo marque. The earliest vehicle on the field, and the oldest Alfa Romeo in the United States, was the RLSS-TF. It was given the 'TF' designation due to racing in the touring-car class of Grand Prix events such as the Targa Florio. Drivers who have piloted this machine included Enzo Ferrari and Alberto Ascari. Another equally important racing machine, and possessing nearly the same seniority, was the Alfa Romeo 6C 1700 GS with coachwork by Zagato. These machines were ideal for racing due to their twin cam supercharged engines and short, lightweight chassis.
Vittorio Jano joined Alfa Romeo from Fiat in 1923 and he was responsible for much of the company's success. The 2300cc engine that powered the 8C 2300 was his handiwork. The engine has two identical four-cylinder blocks, with a dry sump oiling system. The two-piece crankshaft rides on ten bearings and has camshaft and supercharger drives located mid-block. It produces 142 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and feeds a four-speed gearbox. There are large finned drum brakes at each corner. These machines were more than capable of carrying on Alfa Romeo's legacy of proven performance.
Blackhawk Collection at the Pebble Beach Concours
The goal of the Blackhawk Collection over the past two decades is to 'acquire automobiles of singular beauty and historic distinction, thereby assuring customers of the Blackhawk Collection that they are able to select from on the of the largest selections of automobiles for sale that are unrivaled in their importance as well as their condition.' They are one of the world's foremost companies that specialize in acquisition and sale of both American and European classic, coachbuilt, and one-of-a-kind automobiles.
This was the 16th year that the Blackhawk Exposition sale was a part of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The list included well over sixty rare and unique vehicles and sat in close proximity to the Pebble Beach Golf Links course and the Polo Grounds and Gooding Auction tent. A select few cars from their collection are brought to the event and offered for sale. Unlike the other auctions held during this time, a sale price is placed on the windshield of each car and perusing visitors are able to purchase the car of their dreams on the spot if they so desire. Haggling is probably involved, but the buyer does not have to worry about being out-bid. With so many auctions occurring during the week, this type of relaxed sale is a welcomed alternative.
The vehicles were spread out across the lawn with several of the more unique being housed under a tent. The collection of cars was vast and rather eclectic, ranging from trucks, to pre-War luxury, to one-off creations and prototypes, to modern supercars. A few were Best in Show winners at events such as Pebble Beach and Meadow Brook were on display, which does much to boost their appeal, especially with the Pebble Beach concours just a short distance away. In the supercar department, there were at least five Porsches, with one being the Porsche 930 S Turbo Flatnose factory prototype. Other supercars included Aston Martins, Bentleys, a BMW M1, and even a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe.
Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction
The event is called the 'Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction' and it is held at the Portola Plaza Hotel and Monterey Conference Center presented by RM Auctions. Other activities that go on during this time are the Pebble Beach Concours and the Monterey Historics, to name a few. 'Sports and Classic Car' describes this event rather well, covering the majority of vehicles up for sale. Most of the cars were pre-1975, accounting for the 'Classic', and many had a racing pedigree or were intended for competition, thus the 'Sports'. With Pebble Beach and Monterey in close proximity, this was a very fitting stable of vehicles.
Vespa's, trucks, dragsters, hot rods, LeMans racers, concept cars, roadsters, woodies, tributes, Microbus, motorcycles, and even a police car were but a few of the nearly 200 vehicles to cross the block. What was amazing about this auction was the record-breaking $46 million in total sales with 92% of the consigned vehicles sold and 9 vehicles topping the $1 million mark. The highest sale was the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Spyder California which sold for an astonishing $4.95 million. With the number of quality cars to cross the block, this is truly one of the best auctions of the year.
There were many factors that could account for this $46 million success, such as the majority of vehicles were offered without reserve, top-notch selection, an increase in popularity from national and international collectors, and RM's restoration division had eight vehicles invited to attend the Pebble Beach Concours. Their Restoration shop has won the top award at Pebble Beach on several occasions, meaning that their products are contenders for Best in Class and Best in Show honors at any event they attend, and the auction house knows how to pick a winner.
Vintage Motor Car Auction at Meadow Brook Hall
The RM Auction schedule continues to expand with the addition of major events such as Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione in Maranello, Italia and Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey, PA. This expansion is driven by their track record of assembling fine automobiles and proven sales results, with many of the cars appearing at auction finding new owners. With the continued expansion, there is always the room for degradation in quality or expectations not being met. Not so with the Canadian based RM Auctions, as they once again proved that they are more than capable of assembling an elite group of cars, and able to find the right buyers for nearly every item that crosses their auction block. The event was nothing short of spectacular, as bidders energetically did all they could to secure their car as the auctioneer coached the rest of the crowd as to the importance and the need to enter the bidding war.
The popular marque of this year's event, amassing the most vehicles to bare its name, was Buick with a total of twelve models appearing at auction. Most were from the pre-1950 era. Following in a close second was Ford, with a total of eleven models. Four of which were Model T's, and two were Thunderbirds.
Total sales reached $9,500,000 and attracted a record attendance. This single day event showcased over 90 hand-built luxury classics with 88% of the vehicles finding new owners. Twenty-eight vehicles were sold above the $100,000 mark and 49 were offered without reserve. The average price for the automobiles was $115,043.
Historics at BeaveRun
One of the first activities of the ten day celebration of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is the Historic Races at Beaverun. The cars are divided into five racing groups plus the BMW/Porsche Challenge Group and the Spridget Reunion. Two of the groups are open wheel monoposto categories and the others are divided by their displacement size, basically small, medium, and large. These racing groups are sanctioned by the VRG and VSCCA in the historic race car category.
The Group 4 race was the BMW/Porsche challenge which pitted marque against marque, and model against model. The Spridget Reunion category featured marques such as MG, Turner, Austin Healey, Mini, and Lotus.
The races were held at BeaveRun Motorsports Complex which is located in close proximity to Pittsburgh, PA. The track was designed by renowned designer Alan Wilson who is famous for the Miller Motorsports Park and Pikes Peak International Raceway.
Le Belle Macchine d'Italia
The term 'field of dreams' is often used to describe this type of event; and it is very accurate. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia, ItalDesign, Maserati, Fiat, and many other marques showed up for concours day at this year's Le Belle Macchine d'Italia. Many of the owners were merely going through the motions as they parked their car on the lawn; they had not come for this event, it was a pre-cursor to the events that would follow in the days to come. The owners had brought their cars many miles not to be shown, but to be driven. Part of the activities of the Le Belle Macchine d'Italia is track-days at the Pocono International Raceway. The track features eight-turns, a 170-degree hairpin, and 2.5-miles to get the car to its top speed. It is one of the country's foremost super speedways which suit these cars and their drivers rather well.
The concours brings together these fine Italian machines into one setting. This year's event featured the Lamborghini Owners National Meet, the Maserati Owners National Meet, several East Coast Annual Meets, and the Historic Maserati Reunion. Included in this group were two Maserati Birdcage's, MC12 Stradale, and many of their road-going cars of the post-WWII era. The Maserati 430 on display was one of the 1286 examples produced. The Maserati Mexico was produced from 1966 through 1973 with only 484 examples created. Then there was the Maserati Quattroporte II, of which only 13 were constructed. The car on display had a bodystyle created by Frua and was originally owned by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos. Carrozzeria Touring was responsible for creating the very alluring Maserati 3500 GT. Its curvaceous body, aggressive stance, and powerful six-cylinder engine saw production lasting for a long eight-years and over 2200 examples being produced, making it Maserati's first production car built in great numbers.
Having the Historic Maserati Reunion at the Le Belle Macchine d'Italia was a welcomed feature, as Maseratis have claimed the Best of Show award on four occasions in the last seven years. This year's event honored the Maserati Company's important role in the history of sports car culture and its development. Officine Alfieri Maserati has a long and proud history, founded on December 1, 1914 in Bologna, Italy. It was re-located to Viale Ciro Menotti, Modena in 1940. In business for nearly a century, the company has weathered the good and the bad, in both business and in motorsports. It is a marque that symbolizes prestige, elegance and luxury. The cars, as well as the company, embody a genuine sporting spirit and distinctly Italian style and exclusivity. Maserati's aura of exclusivity comes from a tradition of success on the world's racing tracks, and a marriage of sophistication, craftsmanship and avant-garde technology. This glorious past has fueled the Maserati legend, turning the Trident marque into a name whose fame is matched by exceptional sporting prowess.
Bossa Nova Roars
The final automotive event to preclude the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix weekend is held at Bossa Nova in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural district. In comparison to the other events that transpire during the ten-day celebration, this could be considered the least focused on the cars, and more on the conversation, relaxation, and enjoyment of friends, history of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, and the fine drinks of Bossa Nova. An exclusive group of mostly racing cars is invited to park in the parking spots located in front of Bossa Nova with most of the activity taking place within the bar.
Located on 7th street in downtown Pittsburgh is a trendy and hip bar/restaurant named Bossa Nova that is renowned for its tapas, exotic cocktails, and martinis. It features a unique space with a cozy lounge, dramatic bar, and an eclectic blend of music, art and sculpture. It is located on the edge of the Cultural District and tends to attract young, up-and-coming professionals. Bordered by the Roberto Clemente bridge with views of PNC Park, this location and atmosphere was perfect to entice the potential next-generation of high-end exotic vehicle owners and to stir enthusiasm for the weekend's Vintage Grand Prix.
It is not often an entire street gets closed down to regular-traffic parking and reserved for only racing cars and those associated with the Pittsburgh Grand Prix celebration. A few cars that had circled the BeaverRun Motorsports raceway a few days prior showed up to this year's Bossa Nova event. The open-wheeled, single-seater Merlyn MK 11A Formula Ford racer was one of those cars, and was one of the more unusual vehicles to be found on the city streets. A pair of Turners sat in close proximity, displaying the work of British based Jack Turner who made it his goal to create an entry-level sports car that was able to driven on both road and track. The stylish and lightweight fiberglass body concealed the Austin A-35 components, large diameter steel tube ladder frame, and Turner designed chassis. Both of the Turners on display are very rare, with the 1956 Turner 803 being just one of 18 known to exist in modern times.
PVGP Downtown Parade and Car Display
The Downtown Parade & Car Display, in celebration of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, is a superb reason to take an extended lunch break, and stroll around the city admiring the vintage automobiles. Nestled among the skyscrapers and Port Authority buses, several of downtown's most prominent addresses open their courtyards for a sparkling preview of the weekend's shows. In Celebration of the 25th year of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, a parade lap of the city was added to the event. Fifty race and show cars were invited to participate in the event, which began at General Robinson Street, which is located next to Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 50 automobiles were arranged according to drop-off location; the three locations where the cars were to spend most of their afternoon were the US Steel Building, Market Square, and PPG Place. These three locations are among the most scenic in all of Pittsburgh.
Around mid-morning, the cars were led into the city by a police escort. The first car behind the police escort was the Chevrolet Corvette Wide-body Racer, which was a purpose-built car for IMSA/SCCA competition. In original configuration, the engine produced over 740 horsepower. Its home is on the track, and not the city streets. If it were to travel the streets on a regular basis, it is without doubt that the police escort would be behind the car, instead of in front.
Penske's Bernhard, Dumas Win Again at Mid-Ohio
Mid-Ohio was doubly good to Penske Motorsports on Saturday as Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard led a 1-2 overall team finish at the Acura Sports Car Challenge as Penske and its Porsche RS Spyder took its fifth straight overall victory in the American Le Mans Series.
Dumas finished 2.36 seconds ahead of Briscoe after both Penske crews elected a short-fill of fuel on their final pit stop with 55 minutes remaining. Their estimation proved to be right on as the winning car finished 15 seconds ahead of the lead Audi of Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner.
18th Annual Burn Prevention Foundation Concours d'Elegance of the Eastern United States
The 18th Annual Concours d'Elegance of the Eastern United States was again successful at recruiting some superb examples of automotive history. The event takes place in the city of Bethlehem Pa, which has played host for over ten years. The theme for this year's event was 'The Romance of the Open Car', with a special tribute to Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg Marques.
The Performance category was for domestic cars, created between 1949 through 1963, who treasured horsepower as their king. Taking this to the next level was the muscle car era, which featured extreme experimentation in the horsepower-to-weight ratio; high horsepower with the least amount of weight possible. Always present in this group are the Pontiac GTOs, considered the first in the Muscle Car movement. Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds and Barracuda's are popular attendees in this category; these cars are always heard well before they are ever seen. The Sports Car Category includes domestic and foreign cars of lightweight body work, designed for speed and handling. It is a joy to see an Allard roll onto the concours field; in this case, there were two, making the event even more special. The design of the Allard K2 was a modern car with European design influences, seating for two, small trunk area, and a monstrous American V8 engine. The standard engine was the 3.6-liter Ford, but Mercury, Chrysler or Cadillac V8 engines were able to fit under the bonnet. Production lasted from 1950 through 1952 with a total of 119 examples being constructed. The other Allard was a no-nonsense Allard J2X, finished in black paint with red wire wheels, and attractive cycle fenders. The vehicle is mostly engine bay, with the driver and passenger sitting very far back, only inches away from the rear wheel. There is a front grille and a hood scoop to allow for maximum breathing for the engine. It is a very attractive car that is capable of going as fast as it looks.
Waterfront Car Cruise with Jeff Gordon
The Waterfront Car Cruise in Homestead PA gets better every year. There were over 700 cars on display at this annual event but the big news occurred a few hours before the event got underway. Four-time NASCAR Cup Champion and current points leader, Jeff Gordon, made an appearance for a question-and-answer season. Very few of those questions were about the upcoming Vintage Grand Prix; most were about his racing career and his insight into this year's NASCAR season, as one would expect. His arrival in town created lots of publicity for the Vintage Grand Prix and the fans on-hand were all well informed about the race in the park.
A helicopter flew high above the stage and the awaiting crowd knew instantly that it would not be long before they would be seeing Jeff Gordon in person. Would he look the same without the help of high definition? A police escort led a black SUV, carrying Gordon, as it traveled towards its destination. The police lights were flashing, seemingly signaling the crowd to start yelling, and to push the boundaries of the blockades that held them back. The black SUV had the dark tinted windows and was chauffer driven and came to a stop just a short distance from the stage. As Gordon emerged from the vehicle, the camera flashes went into overdrive and so did the vocals of the crowd. He walked casually to the stage, a true professional and one used to this type of excitement and hype.
After the initial pleasantries, the topics quickly went to the world of NASCAR. Select individuals had been pre-selected to each ask Gordon one question in turn. The Sponsor for this event was Nicorette, the co-sponsor of his car, so there was conversation about these serious issues, and promoting the smokeless lifestyle.
Walnut Street Invitational Car Show in Shadyside
There were over 125 vehicles in attendance, all by invitation only. This is one of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix's most exclusive events of the ten-day celebration. Space is limited and only those holding an invitation are allowed the prime parking real-estate. It was a very diverse group, with many makes-and-models in attendance, encompassing many years and all types of vehicles.
If the cars were unable to hold the visitors attention, the beautiful scenery and shops were a great diversion. Shadyside, PA is located in the heart of Pittsburgh's East End, with the shops and boutiques on Walnut Street and Ellsworth Avenue adding to the allure of the area. The surrounding area is filled with many stately Victorian mansions, well-maintained homes, and carefully restored masterpieces. Since the early 1920s, it has been home to many affluent families and young professionals. The name drew its inspiration from the Pennsylvania Railroad Station that was in the area many years ago when there were there were just woods and farmland. At that time it had many shady lanes, adding to the inspiration for the town name.
The oldest car in attendance was the 1905 Cadillac Model E. It is a well-maintained two-seater that has been treated to cosmetic updates throughout the years. The owner reported he drives it very frequently and has racked-up many thousands of miles while in his care. The one-cylinder engine produces around nine horsepower, making those thousands of miles even more impressive. A pair of Franklin automobiles showed up to impress. Packards also had a strong showing, and were among the more elegant vehicles at the show.
Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally
The Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) is the fifth round of the Rally America National Rally Championship and sanctioned by Rally America. It is one of America's best-known Rally events and often contested by the top rally teams from the United States, Canada and abroad. The course begins at The Green in Wellsboro and takes around 14 hours to complete, covering a total of 310 miles, including 125 competitive miles in 10 stages. The course traverses through the twisty Pennsylvania State Forest roads and through two counties, offering plenty of diversity in road conditions throughout the day.
This year was the 31st running of the event. The inaugural event took place in May of 1977, and was known as the Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally. Since that time it has grown, evolved, and continued to offer one of the greatest driving events on the circuit. It was awarded SCCA's 'Best ProRally' award an unprecedented seven times, in 1993, 1998, 1990, 1995, 1997, 2000 and most recently in 2003.
Under the Rally America banner, the drivers compete in street-legal vehicles that are modified for safety. There are six vehicle classes that range from 'stock' to 'highly modified.'
Watkins Glen Historic Sportscar Racing
Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) recaptures a simpler era of motorsports racing when the cars were less dependent on technology. The series showcases many prior entrants to spectacular events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 24 Hours of Daytona. There is educational value for the fans, and wheel-to-wheel competition for the drivers. The cars that race are nearly identical to their original racing configuration. The series leaves little room for modifications from their racing glory, which makes this series especially exciting to relive the past and experience the glory of yesterdays.
This year's HSR's stop at Watkins Glen featured many types of racing which included stock cars, open wheel, Historic GTP/Group C, endurance racing, many Formula Series, and vintage and historic racing.
This was a popular event for both spectators and drivers, with over 225 cars registering for competition. At least 15 entrants were apart of the Historic Stock Car group, which was a thrill to watch. The powerful V8 engines traversed the 3.4-mile course in rare form. The 'Nextel Cup' siblings also race at 'The Glen', but they travel the 2.45 mile short course. These circle track racers were given a rare opportunity to race the full circuit, and experience all its twist and turns. The Glen is a challenging course, with many sharp turns, fast straight stretches, and rolling hills. The Stock cars are not known for venturing too far from left-hand turns, so to see them driven around the full circuit was a delight.
Ault Park Concours d'Elegance
There was a record turnout of over 280 automobiles on display at this year's Ault Park Concours d'Elegance. Nearly four-thousand visitors flocked to this year's event making it the most successful to date. 'We had an amazing event this year and we are extremely proud of all of the volunteers, exhibitors, sponsors and everyone who supported for the Concours d' Elegance,' said Brandy Jacobs, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Concours d' Elegance Foundation which puts on the event. 'The event's success will directly benefit the work of The Arthritis Foundation and further solidify the Ault Park Concours d' Elegance as rivaling other national car shows,' Jacobs added.
The weekend activities kicked-off with The Grand Gala, a welcoming party that featured an exclusive old-world estate, catered dinner and wine auction. Saturday's activities included a Countryside tour beginning at Mariemont Square and traveling throughout Cincinnati. The tour wrapped up at Zakira's Garage, where guests were treated to appetizers, cocktails, silent auction, and a brilliant car display. Sunday was the concours, with activities that included an Automotive Art Show, Patron Brunch, Concours Fashion Show, Trophy presentation, and of course, the concours show itself.
Ault Park is a very tranquil setting for this prestigious event. The public park and recreation area is well renowned for gardens, historic character, nature trails, picnic facilities, and children's play areas. The large, well manicured lawns provided ample room for the many rare and collectible cars on display, and for the crowds who came to enjoy the event. Many of the cars on display were from the Cincinnati area and surrounding region, which is very rich in the automotive history. Neighboring states such as Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania provided a strong foundation for the evolution of the automobile. Probably the oldest car on display was a Pennsylvania 'native,' the 1906 Autocar. This car had roots dating back to 1897 and was founded in Ardmore, PA. The Lexington marque was based in Connersville, Indiana for most of its lifespan. Auburn, Indiana was the birthplace of the Auburn Automobile, a very memorable marque that produced some of the most well remembered automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s. Vehicles produced in various regions of Michigan also had a strong presence. The Ann Arbor Crossover was produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Packard produced their automobiles in Detroit Michigan before shifting to the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. The concours' home state of Ohio was not to be out shown, with the Stoddard-Dayton, built in Dayton, Ohio between 1905 and 1913, making its appearance at the event. The region's rich history further reinforces and supports this great event.
Volo Auto Museum
Now in its 48th year, the Volo Auto Museum draws international attention to the beautiful country village of Volo, Illinois. The Volo Auto Museum has over 300 classic cars on display all for sale! The Volo Auto Museum is home to the world's largest muscle car collection and the George Barris TV & Movie Car Collection. The Volo Auto Museum, 50 miles northwest of Chicago, is open year round. The Volo Auto Museum's store features a large selection of automotive gifts, including car t-shirts, car hats, car books, car signs, car posters, car clocks and diecast cars. If you love classic cars, you'll love the Volo Auto Museum.
New York International Auto Show
When neighborhood houses begin putting up Easter decorations, it could mean only one thing - the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) is just around the corner. As the kids start getting in shape for the big Easter egg hunt, auto enthusiasts begin preparing for the exciting walk through the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in the Big Apple. Some people chase Easter eggs, others chase brightly colored concepts, prototypes, super cars, muscle cars, and production vehicles.
For 107 years, the New York International Auto Show has opened its doors to the latest concept and production vehicles and welcomed enthusiasts to admire what manufactures have worked so hard to create. Over 1,000 vehicles were displayed this year, all vying to capture the attention and excitement of onlookers. This is a very important show; it takes place in America's largest car market and is North America's largest publicly-attended Auto Show. The dates for this years show are April 6th through April 16th. With over 6,000 media and industry executives attending the media days, held on the fourth and fifth of April, this is a well documented and publicized event.
'Situated in the media capital of the world, the NYIAS offers a great opportunity for car companies to show off their latest products to the press,' said show chairman John LaSorsa. 'We're thrilled that more than 20 manufacturers have chosen this year's Show for so many important new vehicle introductions.'
Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island
Nearly all of the vehicles that crossed the auction block at this year's Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island auction, were sold. Just over 100 vehicles were up for sale and ninety found new ownership totaling an 89% sales rate. The first seventeen vehicles to roll onto the stage found new ownership, making it an exciting start to the event. The Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island auction brought in over $20.4 million in sales, with three vehicles being sold for over a million dollars. There were seventy-four vehicles that sold in the six-figure range with the average sale of the day being $217,488.
The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance has been in existence for 12 years, and RM Auctions has been acting as the official auctioneers of the concours for nine of those years. There are auction preview days, held prior to the auction, which allow for the viewing and inspection of the vehicles. The cars are carefully arranged adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on a cozy pod of turf overlooking the ocean. This very tranquil setting is fitting for the elite group of cars as they prepare to cross the auction block. The auction and concours complement each other brilliantly, and has become a popular destination for many auto enthusiasts and a premier activity on the auto show calendar.
The collection of cars was vast, ranging from one-off customs, to the elegant, vintage, and sports cars. The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance has a strong presence with sports and competition cars, and the auction seemed to follow suite. There was a good collection of historically impressive automobiles that have done extraordinarily well in competition, such as the Porsche 935 Group 5 Racer which is the only car to ever win both the Sebring 12 Hours and the Daytona 24 Hours. Another Porsche 935 was offered for sale, a 935/78 Moby Dick, a name that was given due to its elongated nose and tail which helped it on the long straight stretches of high speed tracks, such as the LeMans 24 Hour race. This car was sold for $440,000.The actual 1977 SCCA Championship Group 44 Car driven by Bob Tullius to many podium finishes, was brought onto stage by Mr. Tullius. The car was offered without reserve; bidding reached $225,000 and this racing championship automobile was sold.
Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is one of the nation's premier vintage automotive events and features over 250 race classics from many seldom-seen private collections. These historically significant cars, trucks, and motorcycles have inspired many designs around the world, sparking the dreams of young and old alike. The event is held at the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton.
The 12th Annual 2007 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance was slightly different than in prior years; instead of a car marque, Amelia celebrated the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, Carrera Panamericana, and the Isle of Man TT motorcycle race. These races were staged on public roads which covered difficult and dangerous terrain. The histories of these races are exciting, though not without their share of tragic and fatal endings. These races are no longer run due to safety concerns and changing public opinion; many of cars and motorcycles that once competed have been carefully preserved.
In support of the Great Road Race theme, GM displayed six concept vehicles, including the Corvair Concept and Show cars of the 1960s. GM made other contributions to the concours by displaying a few carefully selected modern endurance cars that compete in venues worldwide.
Harrisburg Pennsylvania Auto and Boat Show
The show held at the Farm Show Complex prior to the Harrisburg Auto Show is a 'Farm Show.' Tractors, live stock, and the latest in farming equipment are on display for all to see. As those activities subside, the preparation for the Harrisburg Auto Show begins. By the time of the auto show, the remnants of the prior event have disappeared except for a faint smell of farm animals. Reading that last sentence may make you twinge and maybe even chuckle a little, but it has become a signature and trademark for the show. Harrisburg is located in the lower portion of Pennsylvania and splits the state's two largest cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Everything north is rolling hills and quaint little towns and rural areas. As such, the farm show is always a popular and well attended event. The visit to the Harrisburg Auto Show is always a study in the market trends of rural America for us. What kind of cars and concepts are being displayed and why?
The show is a 'kick-the-tire' kind of event and one that never disappoints. It is a multi-faceted event that seems to have something for everyone. A large display of boats have young and old climbing aboard, eagerly exploring and touch all buttons and levers. In the lower portion of the hall, there is usually a classic car display. In years past it has been a British corral, Mustang Corral, and Corvette Corral. Not to be outdone, generation 'X' shows off their interpretation of the automobile. Where the cars of the Corvette corral were modified mostly under-hood, the modifications of 'genX' were thorough, flamboyant, and unmistakable. The entire project was unique from colors, to mechanical components, to interiors, rims, tires, and more. There were many words used throughout the day to describe these cars such as alluring, obscene, excessive, dramatic, impressive and unique.
Pennsylvania climate truly consists of all four seasons and as a result the cars that are brought to the show tend to favor the variety in climate. That's why its always a pleasant surprise to see cars that are a little less suited for the variable climate such as the Maybach's, Ferrari's, and Maserati's in attendance. The Ferrari's low stance and wide, slick tires allow them to outrun and outperform most of the cars on the road. Unless of course, there is snow, potholes, or no pavement, in which case these machines are laid to hibernate in the comforts of a garage, while other cars are left to rack-up miles on the odometer.
Chicago Auto Show
This year marked the 99th Anniversary of the Chicago Auto Show. The first show took place in 1907. It is the nation's largest auto show and produced by the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) since 1935. There is 1.3 million square feet of show room floor which accommodates the 1,000-plus vehicles. There are two media preview days followed by a charity preview and then ten days of public viewing.
This year there were over twenty world and North American introductions and debuts. Ford brought back the name 'Taurus', Toyota introduced their new Highlander, Saturn showed off their new Astra, and Volkswagen made their North American debut for the R32. Chevrolet introduced two new version's of their Corvette, the Indy Pace Car Edition and the Ron Fellows Edition. Chevrolet will produce a limited number of both vehicles; the Indy Corvette at the show is one of three original cars (2 backups) that will pace this years Indianapolis 500. Ron Fellows was on hand to speak a little about the tribute Corvette and to accept a one-off guitar by PRS Guitars. Scion introduced the xD and updated xB, soon to replace the xA and prior xB. These new vehicles grew in size slightly over their counterparts. Styling was modernized and tweaked to conform to customer requests. Keeping with Scion tradition, these will still be customizable for customers to personalize.
With the unveiling of the Saturn Astra which is set to hit show rooms in late 2007, Saturn will have one of the freshest lineups in the industry. The Astra joins the Outlook, Sky, Aura, and View; names that have been in the industry less than 21 months. 'The Astra is a great fit for Saturn, with its European style and driving dynamics,' said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn General Manager. 'It also signals our efforts to get new vehicles to market quickly and reinvent the entire Saturn product lineup with unprecedented speed.'
The Frick Car and Carriage Museum - Focused on Pittsburgh
It seems that many majors cities have an automobile museum or display that show-cases a brilliant collection of automobiles for educational purposes and personal enjoyment. For Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that museum is the Frick Car and Carriage. It performs many functions and duties, such as displaying the cars of G. Whitney Snyder. Mr. Snyder's collection centered on cars of the Brass Era through the 1920s and early 1930s. Mr. Snyder contributed generously toward the creation of the Frick Car and Carriage museum, participated actively in its design, and bequeathed his most significant vehicles to its collection. The cars on display are not limited to those from his collection; the museum consists of cars from many collections.
The Frick Car and Carriage Museum has done a brilliant job at gathering up information on many subjects, especially steam powered cars. There is a theater that features a video on the history of steam powered cars and their many accomplishments.
The museum has done a great job at preserving the role Pittsburgh played in the evolution of the automobile and the many accomplishments. This ranges from the continued pursuit of perfect through design and development, to the building of roads, highways, and adapting rules and laws for motorists to abide by. When motorcars and horse-drawn carriages roamed the earth in unison, there was chaos. The roads were poor, unformed, and hard to negotiate. There were no traffic lights or other forms of traffic control. Motorcars and pedestrians all jockeyed for right-of-way. Accidents were common and fault was hard to place since there were no rules or regulations. As motorcars progressed, so did the roadways and methods for controlling the flow of traffic. The Frick Car and Carriage has done an amazing job at documenting this evolution through text, photographs, and narrated videos.
Cavallino Classic Concorso d'Eleganza
The Breakers Hotel is world famous and located in West Palm Beach with ocean views and well manicured lawns. The long drive off the main road that leads to the front door is flanked by an abundance of flowers and plant life. This drive instantly reassures one that this is no ordinary hotel; it is ranked among the top in the country and even, the world. Once a year the hotel plays host to an exclusive Ferrari gathering, the Cavallino Classic. Many of the greatest Ferrari's in existence have graced the lawn of the Breakers Hotel croquet area. The event is traditionally held on the croquet lawn and tenth hole of the Ocean Drive golf course of the exclusive Breakers Resort. The show is divided into two areas, the upper and lower lawn. The upper concours area is closest to the hotel and is limited to a few select cars. These are the celebrated cars of the year and are among the most unique of their kind. The upper section of the concours has changed since prior years; it is now closed off, segregated by a decorative wall and plant life. The upper section has become even more exclusive and seems to add extra allure to the cars. The lower concours feels like its own separate unit; its own separate event.
Proceeding down to the lower area, the cars become more modern and familiar. Those nearest to the hotel are often the oldest while the ones closest to the bottom and near to the road are the most recent, such as the Testarossa, F40, F430 and 360. Paralleling the lower concours are special displays. Here you will find racing cars, art work, apparel, literature, and a few select vendors.
A common question throughout the day by the spectators was 'Which one is the oldest?' The most comical answer came from a father (or grandfather) answering his son's question - he said, 'I am.' This witty response was followed by laughter by all that was in proximity. The oldest Ferrari was no older than 60 years. The history of Ferrari automobiles dates back to 1947 so the legacy does not run as thick as other marques such as Alfa Romeo or Maserati.
Cavallino Classic at Moroso
Ferrari is an icon, a legend, and a legacy. Whether you love or hate the marque, the pedigree and respect it commands is undeniable. From its exclusive automobiles to its heritage on the race track, every knee must genuflect at the name 'Ferrari.' Ok, that may be a little much, but the marque is a very accomplished manufacturer. On the toughest terrain and against the fiercest competition, it has been Ferrari that has emerged victorious. Most innovative, stylish, sought after, and exclusive, the Ferrari name rules supreme. It is easy to hate 'the big guy' and go ‘against the grain' but there should still be respect. Enzo not only produced excellent road going cars, he backed it up on the race track. Every major circuit, nearly ever racing series, the Ferrari name has struck fear in its opponents and put smiles on the faces of those at the wheel. This year's Cavallino Classic was another one of those celebrations; an exclusive event for Ferrari's and a few select Maserati's and Alfa Romeos. Through rain and sun shine, the drivers at this year's Cavallino Classic put their cars through their paces.
The clothes of Pininfarina were the most popular for Ferrari chassis though the works of Scaglietti, Zagato, Touring, and others are among the most alluring. Style or personal preference, the results were always stunning; performance and style in a marriage that was one of the most holy of unions. Simplicity was taken to a new level while perfection and elegance were redefined. It was never Enzo Ferrari's goal to pursue perfection, but rather to outpace it. To be the pinnacle which all others sought; to continue to raise the bar; to redefine what once was, that was Ferrari's dream.
The Cavallino Classic racing showcases this tradition of excellence and pits Ferrari against Ferrari. In other words - the best against the best. There are four track days with the first two being private. This is the first event of the year for the Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge. The groups are segregated into two competitive historic racing groups and modern road and track cars. The historic groups are further divided into drum and disc brake groups. Authentic Ferrari and Maserati cars constructed before 1981 are invited to compete. Within the groups, there are several classes. Among the more modern Ferrari's on the track were the FXX, Enzo, 599GTB, F40, 512TR, 575, and Challenge cars which included the 348, 355, 360, and F430.
Watkins Glen Antique Car Show
The Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International is hailed as the largest vintage racing weekend in America. This year the event showcased the 40th anniversary of the debut of two great racing series at The Glen, the thundering SCCA Can-AM Challenge and the muscle cars of the SCCA Trans-Am. As an added bonus, there are various automotive activities held throughout the weekend such as a concours, race re-enactment, and an antique car show held on the infield during the weekend. Fans were treated to garage, paddock and grandstand access each day and had several opportunities to speak with accomplished endurance driver Derek Bell. A total of 487 vintage and historic cars provided vintage race fans with plenty of on-track excitement throughout the weekend.
The antique car show had cars of many different makes and models gracing the infield and surrounded by racing action. A very attractive Stutz Model AA Black Hawk was on location. A short time after it visited this event, it traveled to the Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance where it participated in the celebration of The Cars of Indianapolis. The Stutz marque has always been known for their performance, a tradition that began with the earliest Stutz automobile. It was debuted at the Indianapolis 500 where it finished the race after 442 minutes in a very impressive eleventh place. And thus, the company was born.
Another very impressive and elegant vehicle on display was the 1930 Riley-Ford Racer Special. This Ford-Riley Special was one of several cars that took part in 'The Great American Race' rally sponsored by The History Channel. The vehicle was able to travel the two-week, 4000 mile rally race across America.
Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen
The 2006 Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen featured the 40th Anniversary of Can-Am and the 40th Anniversary of Trans-Am Reunion, The MotorCheck Enduro Series and the Mike Stott-UBS Sprint Racing Series. Founded in Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1932 by George G. Blaisdell, Zippo has proudly sponsored the Watkins Glen Grand Prix for fourteen years.
The Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International is hailed as the largest vintage racing weekend in America. This year the event showcased the 40th anniversary of the debut of two great racing series at The Glen, the thundering SCCA Can-AM Challenge and the muscle cars of the SCCA Trans-Am. Another added bonus was the three-liter F1 cars that showed up for competition. A special tribute was paid to the career of British driver Derek Bell, a four-time GTP winner at The Glen, who joined the weekend's activities as Grand Marshal. He made his American racing debut at the 1968 United States Grand Prix held at The Glen. He is an accomplished driver and a three-time winner of the IMSA Camel Continental at Watkins Glen International. He won two World Sportscar Championships and five victories at LeMans. He was a driver in Formula 3, Formula 2, and Formula One competition for Ferrari, McLaren, Surtees, and Tecno. To this day, he remains active in motorsports as a television commentator and the occasional driver.
Not all of the activities at the Watkins Glen GP take place on the track; there is a giant antique car show held on the infield during the weekend. On Friday afternoon, action shifts to downtown Watkins Glen, where a Race Re-Enactment highlights the Grand Prix Festival. Activities for the 'downtown festival' starts with the Tech re-enactment at Smalley's Garage, followed by many activities including a Concours d'Elegance, Driving Tours, race re-enactments on the original course, and more. The race re-enactment has become so popular that a lottery is now held to determine who will take part in the event. The main thoroughfare in the village, Franklin Street, is closed to regular traffic and opened for the vintage racers. Spectators are able to get up-close views of how vintage racing used to occur. The lucky drivers selected are given the opportunity to drive two laps around the 6.6-mile circuit designed by Cameron Argetsinger. This is more than a re-enactment of The Glen's 58-year racing legacy, it's also a history lesson and an opportunity to re-live and experience the past.
North American International Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show marked its 100th anniversary this year. It became an international event in 1989 and its name was changed from the Detroit Auto Show to the North American International Auto Show. The first Detroit Auto Show was a regional event held on December 9th of 1907 at the Riverview Park with 17 exhibitors showcasing their combined 33 vehicles. Admission was just fifty-cents; if one was to attend the 'society night', the cost rose to $1.00. In modern times, the 'society night' is now known as the Charity Preview with tickets to this black-tie gala fetching $400. In years past, nearly 18,000 attendees forked over the $400 to attend this event.
During the outbreak of World War II, the US government outlawed the sale or delivery of automobiles. As a result, there was no auto shows from 1941 through 1953.
As demand for the automobile grew, so did the show. The event was relocated to several venues throughout the years before landing at the Cobo Conference Center in 1965. In 2006 there were 70 new vehicle introductions including the first Chinese vehicles to ever be displayed in the US. There were 6,647 members of the media on location from over sixty countries on six continents. Three-quarters of a million people attended the event making it on of the world's top international shows.